Nfld. & Labrador

Tigers, guns and meth? Shaun Majumder gives insight into bizarre world of Tiger King

Shaun Majumder had no idea his 22 Minutes segment would end up in a Netflix smash hit about eccentric zoo owner Joe Exotic and his murder-for-hire arrest.

Newfoundland comedian spent day with Joe Exotic in midst of 2016 presidential campaign

Shaun Majumder profiled Joe Exotic in 2016 when he was running for president. (This Hour Has 22 Minutes)

When Shaun Majumder set foot on the grounds of G.W. Zoo in 2016, he didn't know he'd eventually end up playing a small role in a Netflix docuseries about a murder-for-hire plot.

In fact, the Newfoundland comedian had no idea he was in the show until it became a global sensation last week.

Majumder's profile of eccentric zoo owner Joe Exotic and his run for president appears in the fifth episode of Tiger King — the bizarre, you've-got-be-kidding-me series that's skyrocketed to the top spot on Netflix.

"He was a gay, polygamist redneck and he loved shooting guns. I mean, he was the perfect character," Majumder told The St. John's Morning Show on Tuesday. "You can't even imagine this person really exists."

Joseph Schreibvogel, also known as Joe Maldonado-Passage and Joe Exotic, was arrested for an alleged murder-for-hire plot in 2018. (Santa Rosa County Jail via Associated Press)

Joe Exotic — born Joseph Schreibvogel — became notorious as the owner of one of the largest private zoos in the United States. It was home to more than 200 big cats and 50 species of animals.

He drew the ire of animal rights activists, particularly one in Florida with her own questionable past, named Carole Baskin.

The docuseries profiles the feud between the two, and Schreibvogel's eventual arrest for allegedly hiring someone to murder Baskin. The plot failed, and Schreibvogel went to federal prison.

Tiger King profiles Joe Exotic and his murder-for-hire plot. (Netflix)

Majumder, who is living in Los Angeles and doing a podcast called The Movie Womb, said he started watching the series over the weekend and tried to figure out where in the timeline of turmoil he met the cast of characters.

This Hour Has 22 Minutes profiled Schreibvogel along with two other independent candidates for president. The crew was struck by Schreibvogel and his exuberant personality.

"He had a heart of gold. He was so sweet. But now we know," Majumder laughed.

Watching the show, he still felt some sympathy for Schreibvogel as his mind deteriorated from drug use, feuding and money problems.

"I still, even after watching, had a soft spot in my heart for him even though he hired someone to murder somebody."

The documentary also provided Majumder some much-needed context to understand the strange situation he found himself in during that shoot in 2016.

At the end of the segment, Majumder stood by as Schreibvogel's husband, Travis Maldonado, fired a gun at explosives and caused a huge explosion.

"Now I think back and I'm like, oh my God, I know what their relationships were now. I know now there's a really high chance the guy who blew s--t up was high on meth right when we were shooting that. I remember making the comment in my mind that this guy is way too sweaty for the temperature right now."

Majumder said he's been flooded with messages from people asking how he ended up a part of the series. Most of his American colleagues aren't familiar with 22 Minutes, he said, and were shocked to see Majumder appear out of the blue midway through the show.

The seven-part series began streaming on Netflix on March 20.

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